Lyon and Nice through as Marseille salvage draw

UEFA Europa League

Olympique Lyonnais and OGC Nice clinched their places in the Europa League knockout rounds on Thursday while a late own goal allowed 10-man Olympique de Marseille to grab a draw away to Konyaspor.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

UEFA Europa League, matchday 5

Group E

Olympique Lyonnais  4 - 0  Apollon Limassol FC 

Lyon needed just a point at home to the Cypriot side to clinch their place in the knockout rounds but they took all three, never looking back after Mouctar Diakhaby had profited from a mix-up between Spanish defender Héctor Yuste and Apollon goalkeeper Bruno Vale to poke home from close range (29').

Shortly after the home side doubled their lead, Memphis Depay leading a counter-attack down the left before holding the ball up for skipper Nabil Fekir - back after serving a domestic suspension - to control and volley home (32').

Fekir's 13th goal of the season all told left Apollon with a mountain to climb. They did rally in the second half, and Anthony Lopes had to make a fine save low down to his right to keep out Emilio Zelaya's header.

OL then went on to wrap up the win when Houssem Aouar's floated ball into the middle was headed in by Mariano Díaz (67') for the third goal, before substitute Myziane Maolida completed the scoring in the 90th minute, rolling home at the second attempt after Vale had blocked his initial effort.

Lyon - who will host this season's final at the Groupama Stadium - now go to Italy to face Atalanta in their final Group E game next month with both teams through but with top spot still to be decided.

Lucas Ocampos in action for OM against Konyaspor

Group I

Konyaspor  1 - 1  Olympique de Marseille

Marseille travelled to Turkey with their fate in their own hands, knowing a win at the Konya Büyükşehir Belediye Stadyumu would take them through from Group I, provided Salzburg did not slip up at home to Vitória SC. Salzburg won 3-0, clinching qualification in the process, but Rudi Garcia's side could not get the three points.

They did salvage a precious draw, however, thanks to a soft own goal scored in the third minute of added time. Home goalkeeper Serkan Kırıntılı was at fault as substitute Clinton Njie poked the ball past him from a tight angle. Wilfried Moke helped it into his own net to keep OM's fate in their own hands.

Amavi sent off

Before that they looked to be headed for a third 1-0 defeat in as many away outings in the group. In a game of few chances on a cold night in Central Anatolia, Florian Thauvin had come closest to scoring for OM as his effort from point-blank range was blocked by the goalkeeper just after the hour mark. And Konyaspor were then awarded a penalty for a foul by Jordan Amavi on French-born midfielder Mehdi Bourabia in the box.

Amavi was sent off before Slovenian defender Nejc Skubic netted the resulting spot-kick (82'), but their inability to hold on could cost them dear. Marseille now need just a draw at home to Salzburg next time out to guarantee progress.

Mario Balotelli scored twice in Nice's win against Zulte Waregem

Group K

OGC Nice  3 - 1  SV Zulte Waregem

Mario Balotelli scored twice to set Nice on their way to the victory against Zulte Waregem that allowed them to qualify for the last 32 with a game to spare in Group K.

Balotelli started up front alongside Alassane Pléa and the Italian opened the scoring from the penalty spot, netting from 12 yards after he had been fouled in the box by visiting 'keeper Louis Bostyn (5'). He was on target again just after the half-hour mark, arriving inside the six-yard box to finish off a lovely move involving Jean Michaël Seri and Pléa (31').

A point could have kept the Belgian Cup winners alive and they were given hope when the Danish defender Brian Hamalainen scored with a rocket of a left-foot free-kick nine minutes from the end. However, a fine individual effort from Adrien Tameze in the 86th minute wrapped up the win for Lucien Favre's side. They join Lazio in going through, while Zulte are eliminated along with Vitesse Arnhem.

>> EUROPA LEAGUE: Fixtures/results

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